Marathons and Cardiac Risk

Sometimes what a study doesn’t say is more important than what it does say.

A recent study on male marathon runners is a great illustration.

50 men, average age 60, who had run at least one marathon a year for the past 25 years were evaluated for their Coronary Artery Calcium scores. In most cases these men had actually run far more than one marathon yearly (total marathons was over 3500).

The study was done because data suggest there are a lot of men out there running marathons who have elevated scores. Researchers wanted to evaluate whether this was in any way affected by how much they ran.

If you do the math on this these guys typically ran 3 marathons a year every year for a quarter century.

If you look at their typical risk factors they were pretty good.   Their cholesterols were low, their blood pressure normal and they were in a lean to normal body composition e.g. Not obese or overweight.

The dial conclusion was; running a lot of marathons is not the cause  of elevated Coronary Calcium Scores.  Did you catch that?!  They are saying that running a lot does not INCREASE your risk of blocked arteries!

What they didn’t say was it doesn’t decrease it either!  Their final conclusion was that typical risk factors are more important and should be managed accordingly.  But these risk factors were not prevalent in this group!!

As I noted above, they did not have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, body fat issues etc.  Where were the risk factors?

Frankly they weren’t there so the researchers tried to pin it on the “when” question.  When did you start running (at least 25 years ago!), did you ever smoke or have weight issues etc.

Lame if you ask me!

What it tells me is 2 very different things. First running will not save your butt if you have risk factors unless you start young and keep doing it. Even then it’s a crap shoot.

These guys don’t exactly have major risk factors in most cases.

So what can you do.

This isn’t FDA approved. AMA approved. FTC friendly etc etc and it should not be construed as medical advice.
I think you should lower your total inflammation and the best way I know how to do this is to get adequate Omega 3 levels.

Doc

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